In “The Four Components of Effective Collective Impact,” author and Clear Impact Senior Consultant, Dan Duncan, highlights and describes what he believes to be the four critical components needed to implement a successful Collective Impact initiative, and more importantly, to improve the well-being of communities around the world. These include:

  1. A clear, common purpose;
  2. Community engagement and co-production;
  3. Relationships and trust; and
  4. Results and accountability.

“This is an amazingly powerful article! As a former small charity staff member, former foundation administrator, and current fundraising advisor, I have to say I appreciate this approach – it’s very practical, and if the relationships are implemented as Dan suggests, they will have tremendous impact for the charities and their clients. I’ll be sharing it widely!”   -Rob Tonus, President, The Fundraising Company

To reach his conclusions on how to achieve Collective Impact success, Dan draws lessons from his more than 30 years in nonprofit and public service, in progressively responsible management positions with various United Ways, and in having initiated numerous Collective Impact initiatives throughout his career.

Of special note in this piece, is Dan’s vision of having community members move beyond their roles as “clients” and “advisors” to become “co-producers” of their own wellbeing. According to Dan, service providers and professionals – rather than acting as the primary producers of community change – should instead act in a support role, wherein they help remove barriers to community-led change, prompt and help community members organize to make decisions, cultivate skills and talents, and offer other forms of support when it is needed. Dan says, “In addition to asking people “What they need?” we need to ask “What can you contribute?” And “How can we help you share your gifts? As co-producers, community members become part of the solution.

This article is an amended version of a four part series of blogs by Duncan, published on the Living Cities website here. Living Cities is an organization that “works with cross-sector leaders in cities to build a new type of urban practice aimed at dramatically improving the economic well-being of low-income people.”

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